The Busy Woman's Guide to a Great Body
More Time-Saving Tips6. Try the 20-minute rule...
...and make every minute count. If you can't get to the gym for as long as you'd like, interval training -- bursts of intensity followed by a brief recovery period -- gets results that are often just as good (if not better) than longer, slower-paced workouts. A study from Laval University in Quebec found that subjects who practiced interval training lost significantly more body fat than those who went slow and steady. "Intervals burn more calories after a workout because your body takes longer to return to its previous resting state," says Joe Dowdell, owner of Peak Performance in New York City. Try it: Warm up for a few minutes, sprint or walk on a steep incline for 30 seconds, then return to a slower pace for two or three minutes; repeat five or six times.7. Meet to burn calories -- not consume them.
It's easy to schedule a coffee date or a dinner and never get around to being active. Make an effort to change that habit -- you'll be surprised how much fun it is. Have an exercise date instead of cocktails once a week, and you could stave off a 14-pound weight gain over a year. Try an afternoon of ice skating, cross-country skiing, or sledding (all about 590* calories). Not in the snowbelt? Try a brisk group stroll to catch up on gossip while burning calories (more than 400 an hour).8. Rack up three and a half hours of extra exercise a week.
A study from the University of Pittsburgh found that all types of activity, of moderate intensity or greater, can translate into weight loss as long as you hit that magic number and eat a sensible diet. Over the course of seven days, that's not hard. "Little bursts of activity -- taking the stairs instead of the escalator, walking a couple of extra blocks at lunch -- can add up to significant calories burned each day," says Lisa Talamini, RD, chief nutritionist at Jenny Craig. Jot your micro-workouts into your daily planner when possible. It'll just take a sec, and it'll help you feel motivated to do more!9. Use delays to your advantage.
Stuck at the airport waiting for your flight? Get moving. "Whenever I have some time before my flight, I power walk around the airport wearing my backpack," says Espel. "You can easily rack up a mile or two walking from one end to the other and back again." If you're at a place where you're not too embarrassed to start doing a few dips and curls, try a mini circuit-training workout, suggests Monroe. Go for a brisk-paced walk, and every few minutes stop and intersperse a set of strength moves, such as squats, lunges, calf raises, triceps dips, or wall push-ups.10. Accept bribes.
"I'm not one of those women who can roll out of bed and say, 'Woo-hoo, it's time to exercise!'" admits Judith Wright, president of the Wright Institute in Chicago and author of The Soft Addiction Solution. "I need incentives, so I tell myself that if I walk 30 minutes to my local Starbucks, I'll reward myself with a tall Caffe Mocha with skim milk. If there's a new movie I'm dying to rent on DVD, I pop it in while I'm running on my treadmill. It gets me every time."11. Take your secret love of dancing public.
"I use the winter months to take flamenco and hip-hop dance classes, which I never get to do in the summer because I usually exercise outside," says FITNESS senior fashion editor Celeste Brown-Wright. "Both are great workouts, and I'm always learning something new, so I don't get bored." In fact, an hour of shaking your groove thing burns about 400 calories, roughly the same as a brisk walk.
*All calorie counts based on a 140-pound woman.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, December 2006.
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